Sunday, June 06, 2004

Sustainability Circles - how does that work?
Tapescript Supplementary Journey 1
part two

I have just written up the script from the first part of the venture to gain insight into how people can regularly work with sustainability.

A group exercise has just produced a methodology where you we sit in a group, work out a suggestion and then report back how it has gone and what’s been learned.

I ask: “can anyone join?”

The moderator replies:” yes, we just sit down and get started.”

“Sounds good to me,” I say. “Can we follow the same process around my question about how to run these sustainability processes?”

The group nods silently in agreement.

I start: “Do you call the meeting without an agenda?”

“That’s right, that is to a take-up meeting. There, you take up anything you want. Then comes the report back meeting.”

I rephrase the task as succinctly as I can.

“What process do we use to involve people in sustainability?”

My group works to frame the task: that we should focus on behaviour change. The output would lead to more sustainable behaviour in individuals. These individuals are acting either as consumers, citizens or in their job. I would like the focus to be not on the process but the interaction with the world.

Now, in my case I am asking the group for help in bringing about a change in behaviour that has to do with engagement. That is to say that people spend more time involved in sustainability and sustainable behaviour development.

It should be fun and stimulating to do. And feel like you are doing something important. It should be productive and involve everyone.

So we have started and formulated our question.

I ask for more suggestions, I see a woman wants to say something.

“So what can we try? Sit down and talk to friends?”

“We suggest you look at behaviour. Say what behaviour leads to non-sustainability.”

Then we talk about behaviour.

At this point I realize that the proposal in front of us is to try what we are actually doing now. Non-sustainable behaviour is not to work with sustainability at all.

The group discusses what would be reasonable to aim for. We discuss once an hour, once a day, once a week, once a month.

They agree once a week for a couple of hours is reasonable to create momentum and focus.

Someone asks: “are we sure why the behaviour is damaging?”
“Well if we don’t do it nothing will happen. So we need an hour or two a week.”

The proposal is to try to define a way of working which would take us from no times a week working with sustainability to once a week for a few hours, that feels reasonable for everyone.

I am struck by how easy it is to work with the group as they all genuinely want to help. No politics.

Someone starts writing it all up, to go out on the web, available for everyone to engage as well.

I ask for suggestions and proposals to now test the proposal.

A member suggests each of us take the written description of the steps involved, grab friends and go away and try it. We then report back to this group how it went and share experiences.

I feel I still have not reached completion, and again plea for help. “Can we trial it now or is something missing - let’s review.”

The group reviews:
Bring together a group of people to meet once a week. In a circle, anyone takes up anything. Frame the issue by defining the sustainability – negative behaviour and what would be a reasonable change.
The group then works out suggestions how to reach a change and plan a trial.

“Good spot for a break”, someone suggests.

I go out and go to the loo. I joke with the guy standing next to me that I find myself thinking about the urine I am producing - is it being drained away in a sustainable way? Am I even urinating in a sustainable way? I muse that the method has really got me focused.

End of tapescript Supplementary Journey 1
part two

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